Students of the human psyche understand that people navigate this dangerous and confusing reality with the help of mental maps. These maps are constructed from memories, learned information, and a vast set of assumptions and beliefs.
No person is immune from the tyranny of the mental map. We all have one; indeed, we begin creating our maps from the minute we draw our first breath outside the womb.
But the map is not the terrain. Every cartographer, no matter how diligent, will miss some essential wrinkle of the landscape, will misinterpret some key geographic feature. The more errors and false assumptions in our map, the more in danger we are of running aground.
So when confronted by human behavior that seems irrational or insane, it pays to ask: What inner map could have led this person so wildly off course?